Review: YOU BELONG TO US by Molly McCaffrey


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My much admired professor, mentor, and friend, Dr. Molly McCaffrey, launched her memoir, You Belong to Us, today. I preordered my copy and received it a few days ago and have been absolutely blown away by the emotional journey captured within its
pages.

Adopted at the age of 6 weeks, Molly grew up knowing she’d been adopted but loving the life she’d lived with her adoptive parents–her real parents.

In her late twenties, out of curiosity about who and where she came from, she hesitantly began the steps required to find her birth mother. Her memoir emotionally chronicles the fear, curiosity, confusion, guilt, and anger that guided her through finding and meeting her birth family.

Her experience was especially emotional because, not only did she find a birth mom, she also found out that, after putting her up for adoption, her birth mother and birth father reconciled, got married, and had four other children who were all Molly’s full-blooded siblings. Instead of finding one person, she found an entire family, most of whom never even knew she existed… some of whom would like to pretend she didn’t.

The book is a very emotional read that begs the question… How much does our biology affect who we become? And is it possible for one person to heal a thirty-year-old “wound” that the other person sees as a blessing?

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the human condition and both our abilities and inabilities to accept, adapt, and move on.

You Belong to Us can be purchased here or at Barnes and Noble.

JOE by Larry Brown… Tugs at the Heart Strings


JoeJoe by Larry Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

JOE is a perfect example of Southern Literature at its finest. The story begins with a boy and his family. They’re tired, dirty, and without a home. The boys father is an abusive drunk who refuses to help his family survive, and his son steps in to help out by asking for a job from Joe Ransom. Joe has problems of his own. He’s a stubborn, stoic man who doesn’t feel that he deserves happiness. His only ambition is to never go back to prison, but there are people out there who’d send him back in a heartbeat. The relationship that forms between Joe and Gary, the boy, will tug at your heart. They balance each other out and provide exactly what the other is looking for, even though they don’t realize it. You will become emotionally attached to these characters, and Larry Brown did an amazing job of making that happen.

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NEVER COME BACK by David Bell… Couldn’t Put It Down!!


Never Come BackNever Come Back by David J. Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NEVER COME BACK by David Bell is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I literally couldn’t put it down. The suspense is masterfully done, and the characters are so easy to fall in love with. But I quickly learned that not all of them could be trusted. When Elizabeth’s mother dies, she is devastated, and she finds herself responsible for taking care of her brother who has Down’s syndrome. While she struggles to keep up with her Master’s program at school, take care of her brother, and cope with the loss of her mother, she learns that the police suspect foul play in her mother’s death, and it wasn’t a robbery. What could a sixty-something woman who keeps to herself possibly have been involved in that would have gotten her killed? Could her sweet brother have done this in a fit of rage? Or was it the new person who suddenly shows up and destroys everything Elizabeth had thought to be true? By the end of the story, I felt Elizabeth’s shock and betrayal as strongly as I could only imagine she felt herself. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a great thriller and who doesn’t mind having uneasy thoughts like, “How do I know this isn’t true for me too?” Because the truth is, you may never really know…

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THE FORGOTTEN GIRL by David Bell… Amazing Read


The Forgotten GirlThe Forgotten Girl by David J. Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE FORGOTTEN GIRL by David Bell is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will leave you wondering what the people closest to you are really capable of. The story begins when Jason’s sister, Hayden, shows up after being gone for years and then immediately disappears again. As the events unravel, you realize that no one is who they seem and some secrets are better left hidden. The character development and pacing in this novel are so artfully accomplished that just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Bell surprises you with a crazy twist of an ending that will leave you speechless long after the last page is turned. I definitely recommend this novel, along with his other novels, CEMETERY GIRL and NEVER COME BACK, to anyone who loves a good mystery thriller and who isn’t afraid to lose a little sleep at night.

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Stepping Out of My Zone: A Biography of My Reading History


I wouldn’t exactly call it my comfort zone, but I am definitely stepping out of my most commonly occupied zone.

When I began reading wayyyyy back in fifth grade (1990ish), I quickly became a Sweet Valley High junkie. Next was The Babysitter’s Club. I literally read hundreds of those teeny bopper books and loved every bit of them. Now that I think about it, it would actually be interesting and probably a bit horrifying to read one now.

Later during high school, I read every single Danielle Steele novel she’d ever written. Eventually, I got to the point where I could no longer tell them apart. Later, I would realize the reasoning behind that was basically the same reason she’d managed to be so prolific. Most of her novels were pretty much recycled plot lines where the characters had different names but the same voice and they were facing a somewhat different conflict in a different setting…. but when you’ve read them all and you look back, you realize they’re all essentially the same book.

So I decided to take a leap, and I had a spin with Nora Roberts and Karen Robards. Admittedly, they are both very similar to Danielle Steele, but there was more action and more to the stories… more variety, the characters had distinct voices and personalities, the authors had different writing styles.

Eventually though, I grew tired of the entire romance genre. I was sick of the happily-ever-afters, the cliche sexual tension, and the stubborn characters who denied their feelings for stupid reasons. I made a vow; the next book I chose to read would definitely not feature some cheesy cursive script on the cover with two impossibly attractive people embracing in the background. Continue reading

Day 7 of The Dysfunctional Writer’s 7 Day Book Giveaway


Day 7 of The Dysfunctional Writer’s Book Giveaway!

Day 7

john grisham the street lawyer

The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

From Amazon

       Michael was in a hurry. He was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience.
But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who’d been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney.
The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed in the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.
And a thief.

To enter the giveaway for this item:

Comment on this post. That’s it. The winner will be chosen out of the people who have commented by the end of the day on January 12 (Central Standard Time).

Sometime on January 13, with help from my husband, I will choose one commenter at random as the winner and provide them with my contact information. The winner will be responsible for contacting me by email with shipping information, and I will ship the book within the following day or two. (Will only ship within the US, sorry!)

 ←Day 6 of the Book Giveaway             

Day 6 of The Dysfunctional Writer’s 7 Day Book Giveaway


Day 6 of The Dysfunctional Writer’s Book Giveaway!

Day 6

john farris the fury and the terror

The Fury and the Terror by John Farris

From Amazon

     The United States is besieged by terrorists-terrorists who work from within the White House itself. Their weapon of choice is a type of mind control not even dreamed of years ago.
     Eden Waring, star athlete and valedictorian, is about to address fellow graduates and family members in the school’s stadium when she is overwhelmed by a terrible premonition: a DC-10 is about to crash at the ceremony site.
     From that moment on, her life is forever changed. On the run, pursued by a powerful covert agency and married to a man she can no longer trust, Waring must use her full psychic potential to save the lives of millions of Americans while she tracks down a complex plot that leads to the Oval Office itself.

To enter the giveaway for this item:

Comment on this post. That’s it. The winner will be chosen out of the people who have commented by the end of the day on January 11 (Central Standard Time).

Sometime on January 12, with help from my husband, I will choose one commenter at random as the winner and provide them with my contact information. The winner will be responsible for contacting me by email with shipping information, and I will ship the book within the following day or two. (Will only ship within the US, sorry!)

←Day 5 of The Book Giveaway                    Day 7 of the Book Giveaway→